One of the most rewarding experiences when studying abroad are the connections that you make. Being an exchange student in Germany, Munich (a long time ago), I remember being excited to develop new friendships with local students - actually, before I went to my host university on Day 1 of the program. In reality, everything wasn't as easy as I had expected. I soon realized that meeting new people required getting out of your dorm room and stepping out of your comfort zone.
For CIEE Moscow students, getting to know students from our host institution MGIMO seems to be a little bit easier. There are plenty of student-run clubs and organizations, where our students can converse with locals and enhance their skills of working in a team, both in Russian and in English. Interested in public speaking? Join the Debate or Negotiations Clubs. Love singing? Sign up for a choir audition. The only thing that matters is your motivation!
On February 28, CIEE Moscow students took part in our first Speaking Club, jointly organized by CIEE Moscow and MGIMO Anglo-Saxon Club. The event brought together American and Russian students from MGIMO, who were able to exchange their views on the issue of values. What are the most and least important values in Russian culture? How are these values expressed in a daily life? Do the values shift from generation to generation? These are some of the questions that the participants were answering in mixed teams, trying to reach a group consensus and find a common understanding of how values are reflected in the Russian society.
Comparing the results of the discussion with other teams
The teams agreed that being a huge country, Russia contains an incredible diversity of ways of life and beliefs. Generally, all the teams agreed that the most essential values in Russian culture are unity, tradition, and respect. Though they admitted that over the years the values have been changing - from traditional values to a more 'modern' value system.
We hope that CIEE Moscow students found the event valuable not only in terms of getting a better understanding of the Russian values and ways of life, but also in terms of building relationships with Russian students!